Tech Digest daily roundup: Virgin Media O2 plans to upgrade 14m home to full-fibre


Virgin Media O2 has unveiled plans to upgrade more than 14m homes and businesses to ultrafast full-fibre in an attack on BT’s dominance of the broadband market. The newly merged company will expand its full-fibre network over the next seven years, as BT and smaller broadband builders race to kit out the nation with gigabit speed connectivity. The roll-out will build upon the 1.2m homes connected to full-fibre through Project Lightning by installing fibre inside tunnels already used by its cable network. The move will enable Virgin Media O2 to step up its challenge to BT’s infrastructure builder Openreach by handing it more opportunities to offer wholesale access to broadband retailers such as Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk. Telegraph

Concerns about a revenue growth slowdown pushed Facebook’s shares lower in after-hours trading Wednesday, not long after the company reported that its second-quarter profits doubled thanks to a massive increase in advertising revenue. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg set his sights far beyond the second half of 2021, exalting what he sees as the next phase of how people experience the internet. What the rest of the world might know as augmented and virtual reality with a dash of science fiction, Zuckerberg and others are calling “the metaverse,” a futuristic and somewhat vague notion that encompasses AR, VR and new, yet-to-be-imagined ways of connecting to one another via technology. AP News 

A record 689,313 alerts were sent to users of the NHS COVID-19 app in England and Wales in a week, NHS figures show. The alerts tell people they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. The new number was recorded in the week up to 21 July. The previous week’s numbers showed 618,903 people were pinged by the app. Businesses in all sectors have complained that they are struggling to maintain operations when so many staff have been told to stay at home to break the transmission. The government has said that some essential workers can now use daily testing to avoid having to isolate. Sky News

Space flights and satellite launches can now “blast off” from UK soil after new regulations came into force, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced. The rules provide a framework to regulate the space industry and will unlock “a potential £4 billion of market opportunities over the next decade”, according to the Department for Transport (DfT). The first launch is expected to take place next year. It would be the first time a spacecraft or satellite has taken off from a European country, the DfT said. Yahoo!

Rip-off websites which charge people for free Covid-19 passenger locator forms feature at the top of Google search results, the BBC has found. Airline Ryanair said passengers should be “extra vigilant” and only download forms from the official website. The passenger locator form is designed to help airlines contact people in the event of a coronavirus outbreak. Google said it had removed several ads but the BBC found some still topped its search results on Wednesday. “It’s no surprise that these copycat firms have found yet another route to try and make money out of people for something that is free,” said Guy Anker, deputy editor of consumer website Money Saving Expert. BBC

Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to